The Ford Foundation’s Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice (GREJ) thematic area seeks a dynamic, curious and collaborative Program Officer (PO) to help shape and implement the Foundation’s work to advance social justice work globally with a focus on advancing the rights of those marginalized by gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity or other identities. Based in New York, the Program Officer will support the GREJ thematic area strategy and grantmaking, and will work collaboratively with Ford’s Regional Offices and colleagues in other funding institutions to advance GREJ goals.
Addressing inequality is the core focus of the Ford Foundation. The overall goal of the GREJ thematic area is to make concrete gains toward full equality for all people regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity. Towards this, Ford supports innovative organizing and collaborations, legal and policy advocacy, and culture change efforts.
The goal of GREJ’s work globally is to advance regional and global policy, standards and funding flows to support the priorities of those who face multiple forms of discrimination across gender, race and ethnicity. Ford’s strategy will include support to strengthen Global South networks that advance gender and racial/ethnic justice together and work to challenge the criminalization of people and communities that are targeted based on their identities. This includes but is not limited to the Foundation’s global commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. Identifying key opportunities that leverage Ford’s work in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East will be a part of this role. In addition to grantmaking, the Program Officer also will serve as a resource to Ford colleagues working in specific regions or issue areas interested in incorporating a stronger “GREJ” lens into their strategies.
The PO will primarily focus on refining and implementing the strategy to strengthen global south identity-based networks so they are able to advance their rights through national, regional and global standards, policies and funding streams. Three interrelated strategies of interest are: (a) strengthening connections across movements, (b) connecting issue specific leadership in the regions where Ford funds to regional and global advocacy strategies and (c) deepening activism that challenges the criminalization of people based on their identities.
Reporting to the NY-based GREJ Director and working with a multidisciplinary team of Program Officers, the PO will:
- Work collaboratively with other team members to refine the focus of the GREJ global strategy aimed at advancing the rights of communities marginalized by race, gender and sexuality by strengthening the basic infrastructure needed for these constituencies to have greater influence.
- Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including: long-term grant planning; identifying and working with prospective grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations; conducting organizational assessments; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees; and reviewing financial and narrative reports.
- Support learning efforts that tap the expertise of colleagues across the Foundation; be a connector of grantees; support learning to connect regional and global programming and collaborate broadly across GREJ and other thematic areas.
- Be a resource to specific offices or areas of work interested in developing deeper integration of GREJ approaches into their ongoing strategies, as requested.
- In collaboration with others on the GREJ team, strengthen the Foundation’s global level engagement on issues of inequality, through support for powerful global platforms, strategic engagement with bilateral, multilateral and regional bodies as relevant.
- Engage with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances and encourage collaboration, learning, exchange and strategic partnerships.
- Promote and participate in fostering open-mindedness and a culture of learning – including learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work – seeking to continually ask hard questions, gather independent and rigorous data and evidence about effectiveness of the foundation and grantees’ strategies, and help adapt practice as needed.
- Represent the Foundation and its work in key venues through participation in relevant meetings, public speaking, writing, speeches, briefings, blog posts, and interviews, with guidance from the GREJ Director and Ford Office of Communications.
- Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
- Contribute to the thinking and work of colleagues in the GREJ team and foundation overall.
- BA/BS plus at least 8 years' experience (or equivalent combination of education and experience) leading social justice strategies related to global gender and racial/ethnic justice work, with a particular focus on strengthening the impact of such groups on policy and funding entities.
- A proven record of work on and knowledge of women’s human rights (including but not limited to sexual and reproductive rights) and how these intersect with other potential forms of marginalization such as race, ethnicity, class, and disability.
- Significant experience working in diverse regional contexts across Africa, Asia, Latin America and/or the Middle East.
- An open, flexible and curious mind
- Experience bridging diverse communities towards shared strategy
- Exceptional communications skills – strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills
- Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development
- Ability to balance external engagement and strategy setting with routine program management responsibilities
- Written and oral fluency in English; bilingual preferred
- A master’s degree in relevant field of study or an equivalent experience is preferred
- ALIGNMENT TO THE MISSION AND THE CULTURE OF THE FORD FOUNDATION:Travel: Domestic and international travel expected, approximately 20-25%; some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also to attend team conferences, retreats and meetings. Given that we work across different time zones, some non-traditional hours for early or late calls are an expectation of this role.
- Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, fairness and diversity
- Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
- Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
- Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams
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